Referendum option on table for urbanization projects on Aegean island of Bozcaada
İdris Emen ISTANBULThe mayor of Bozcaada has welcomed the idea of a referendum offered by the urban planning minister regarding a new urbanization plan that paves the way to opening the Aegean island of Bozcaada to vast construction projects.
The controversial plan was officially announced in September, granting licenses for building new “vineyard houses” and “agricultural plants” on almost 90 percent of the island’s territories.
Following concerns expressed over the plan, Urban Planning Minister İdris Güllüce reportedly “suggested holding a referendum, promising to do what is necessary for the island if the mayor and locals appeal the plan.”
Bozcaada Mayor Hakan Can Yılmaz said they looked favorably on the idea of a referendum, adding that more than 1,000 petitions have been submitted against the plan so far.
“We think the context of this plan should have been shared with the public, the local municipality and nongovernmental organizations since the beginning, while it was being prepared. The only reason why [the plan] does not comply with the facts of Bozcaada is not doing such a move during the planning process,” Yılmaz said.
“We have already appealed to a previous 1/25,000 plan and the new 1/100,000 plan with a decision by the municipal council. It means we held a minor referendum between us. We will stand by the public’s decision,” he added.
“We are not saying that construction should not be done in Bozcaada, but we think this plan includes some dangers for Bozcaada. So we demand a revision for these dangerous points, and I think the Urban Planning Ministry would be open up to such a revision,” the island's mayor also said.